No. 250 Jan. Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court in No. 820 C.D. 1977, January 23, 1979, Reversing the Decision and Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Decision No. B-141256.
Richard Wagner, Asst. Atty. Gen., William J. Kennedy, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Edwin B. Barnett, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Jerome H. Gerber and James L. Cowden, Harrisburg, for amicus Pa. AFL-CIO.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Wilkinson, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Flaherty, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Kauffman, J., joined.
Claimant, Karen Jesiolowski, applied for unemployment compensation benefits in May, 1976. The Bureau of Employment Security denied the claim. After a hearing before a Referee, the denial of benefits was affirmed. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), appellant herein, then reversed the decision of the Referee and granted claimant unemployment compensation. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court reversed the order of the Board and denied claimant benefits. Franklin & Lindsey, Inc. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 40 Pa. Commw.Ct. 59, 396 A.2d 497 (1979). We granted allocatur and we now reverse.
The facts of this case, as found by the Board, are as follows: Claimant was employed as a draftsperson-surveyor by appellee, Franklin & Lindsey, Inc., in April, 1975, at which time she began working as a draftsperson. In August, 1975 claimant also began doing field survey work for appellee. Beginning in March, 1976, appellee also required claimant to do secretarial work in the office, despite her protests. Throughout this period, claimant was enrolled an an evening student at Drexel University, majoring in civil engineering.
On May 21, 1976 claimant was laid off by appellee due to lack of field work. At the time, her salary was $120 per week. On May 26, 1976 appellee offered to recall claimant to do "purely secretarial work" at the continuing rate of $120 per week. Claimant refused the proffered employment because she felt that a purely secretarial job was not in keeping with her training and experience, that her drafting skills would deteriorate if not used, and that the job lacked sufficient opportunities for advancement.
Claimant's prior work experience included part-time secretarial work for six months, full-time secretarial work for three months, and work as a draftsperson technician from September, 1974 through April, 1975.
Appellant's contention on this appeal is that appellee's offer of "purely secretarial work" did not constitute "suitable work" within the meaning of the Unemployment Compensation Law, and that the ...